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Wednesday, February 10, 2016


I have a knack lately for watching controversial films. Today I saw Spotlight about a team of investigative journalists looking into the many allegations of sexual misconduct with minors by priests. The movie had me groaning as far as the various allegations of the misconduct, but I only took it as something that happened between a minor and a priests.

I know of no one who had truly been abused as many young Catholic parishioners had. It somewhat doesn't help that I'm personally not Catholic. How would I have responded if my child had been abused sexually by a clergyman I thought I could trust.

We see how it was handled by many involved especially the victims. Many didn't want to acknowledge what happened and hadn't for many years afterwards. They weren't ready and if it involved their parents they probably didn't believe it either. Thankfully the work of an investigative journalist team exposed more than the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston was able to cover up.

Sometimes courageous people on a mission and willing to stand on their own can truly expose something very big. Unfortunately such people become a target in a variety of ways, but these individuals know something is going on and hopefully influence others to take a look.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Transfer agreements between HBCUs & Community Colleges

I wonder if it's something worth doing at the City Colleges of Chicago a transfer agreement between them and the nation's HBCUs. California is ahead of the curve on this and this is a year-old article:
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the leaders of nine historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are signing an agreement ensuring guaranteed transfer to graduates of any California community college who meet certain academic requirements.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris, leaders of the participating HBCUs and George Cooper, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, are taking part in a signing ceremony in the chancellor’s office March 17.
The memorandums of understanding between the chancellor’s office and the individual HBCUs says students who have completed an associate degree for transfer or similar transfer-level associate degree and maintain a 2.5 grade point average will be admitted to the four-year institution as a junior with full acceptance of transferable units.

Students who haven’t earned a degree from a community college would be able to transfer 30 or more credits and would be guaranteed admission to an HBCU with advance standing.

The participating HBCUs are Bennett College (North Carolina); Dillard University (Louisiana); Fisk University (Tennessee); Lincoln University (Missouri); Philander Smith College (Arkansas); Wiley College (Texas); and three institutions in Alabama – Stillman College, Talladega College and Tuskegee University.

The goal of the HBCU Transfer Guarantee Project is to educate students about additional transfer opportunities at these institutions and develop pathways that will contribute to an increase in baccalaureate attainment.
Although I never graduated I am a product of one of the City Colleges. I transferred to Morehouse College from one of the City Colleges. It would be an intersting development to see community colleges no only in Chicago but throughout the state develop such agreements with our nation's HBCUs.

Now that I think about it if Morehouse has such an agreement with the city colleges would it have made my time in Atlanta easier. I can only wonder about that today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Forget Harvard...

Should a school like Morehouse or Spelman be free? Of course those aren't the only examples of HBCUs that should be free given that many graduate prominent Black graduates over the years. It's a great idea whose time has come.

I think about it because over at Instapundit I see a quick blurb about whether or not Harvard University should offer free tuition thanks to the fact that they do so well as far as endowment. I heard a classmate at Morehouse note that when you attend school at any Ivy League university the expectation is that you give back once you graduate.

Well I don't know if that's true or not, but if colleges such as Morehouse or Spelman has as much cash as Harvard does then the best students who otherwise can't afford to attend would have one less pressure to worry about. I had the pressure of paying tuition only to now worry about paying back students loans. Still just go to school do well and then graudate. I think that's what we should ask of our students but only of course if the school itself can provide it through primarily private funds.

Of course I realize that for the most part HBCUs likely can't afford to do what Harvard does. The reason being many of those schools hadn't existed before the birth of the United States of America. This are probably several centuries of endowment income and of course the willingness of alum and supporters to donate.

What if HBCUs have the successful networks of alum and supporters to donate money to these school just to make it easier finacially for those students - especially low to middle income students and academically talented - to just study and succeed in school?

To be honest this I can support. Why not just allow those students who have need and have the drive or ambition to go to a school on par with an Ivy League university to be able to attend practically for free? Only thing is they need to be on point before they start class and while they attempt to graduate in four years or so. What do you think?

Monday, January 18, 2016

This past weekend's protest

Been having a rough time here in Chicago. In the past two months Chicago has seen increased protests thanks to first the Laquan McDonald story. He was shown on video being shot 16 times by a Chicago policeman who has been indicted in this incident.

I wrote over at The Sixth Ward about the protests that took place in downtown Chicago on Black Friday. Protestors shut down many of the shopping destinations on the Magnificent Mile not long after the release of police video in the McDonald case.

And here they still protest. Yesterday activists took to a police credit union on the city's west side for more protests. It wasn't just about police brutality or possibly unjustified police shootings:
The protesters said they had an additional mission: To reconfirm the values of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday's federal holiday honoring him comes at a tumultuous time for Chicago's race relations, as city officials deal with the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal and work to change a long-standing policy of keeping video evidence in police shootings under wraps.

The march on the Near West Side was intended to bring awareness about King’s belief that political equality can't be achieved without social and economic equality. Protesters called for black workers' rights, open housing for blacks, the revitalization of black communities and viable jobs.

Protester Gabe Frankel, of the Ravenswood neighborhood, said marching the day after the anniversary of King's birthday was meaningful, particularly after this week's release of surveillance video from the January 2013 police shooting of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman.

"It's time to step back and reflect to see if we're meeting the pillars of (King's) goals," he said. "I think we're failing miserably."

In addition to protesting police brutality, dozens of activists joined the march to advocate for workers' rights, asking for people of all education and experience to have access to parental leave, paid sick leave, the right to unionize without retaliation and protections against discrimination based on race, gender, past drug offenses or incarceration.
This is how you draw many protesters not just 20 or 25. You probably do have to bring in many people with different ideas. So not just police brutality, but other social justice causes regarding employment or economic rights.

It almost reminds me of the Protest Warrior days - can't believe that site is still up. The protests recorded there were largely "peace" marches but they had an agenda which again took up social justice causes. I recall them talking about education, welfare, health care and they were at a peace march.

This underscores the point:
Kejioun Johnson, a McDonald's employee living in the Roseland neighborhood, said black communities won't be stabilized until black workers begin receiving fair and equal treatment.

"Low income, low-wage jobs and race (at Chicago's fast-food restaurants) are one and the same," he said. "Organizations like McDonald's suck our community dry. Today, we're here to reclaim history and continue fighting for our communities."
I see... This gives me a facepalm although I recognize that if this is truly a grass roots effort it's possible organizers weren't entirely able to do their homework.
Protesters succeeded in closing the credit union for regular business, but they had done so because they believed they were "shutting down a privately owned bank that the FOP is housed in," Pagan said during the protest. The union, however, is housed in a building across the street.
In this nation to protest various causes is a right. It means there are those of us who don't like the fact that they protest. Sometimes though protests and activism results in change. Question is what kind of change are these activists seeking and what do they accomplish by shutting down a police credit union?

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Happy new year

I know at this point it's now 5 days into 2016. While I wrote a lot about my job hunting frustration in 2014 things have settled down the past 13 months or so have been filled with a small amount of setbacks to great beginnings. What I hope for in this new year is a continuance of my good fortune.

I also wish the same for many of you who continue to read this blog although it seems I haven't devoted enough attention that has been seen in the past.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Big Short

[VIDEO] The clip above shows Dr. Burry being confronted by one of his investors for going against the mortgage market. An example of what you would see in The Big Short.

I saw this film recently at River East and it's a serious movie about the mortgage crisis. A number of individuals in this movie portrayed by actors Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling had the foresight to bet against the subprime mortgage market.

There are some hilarious aspects of the movie to explain the mumbo jumbo explained during the course of the movie. Many of us likely won't understand the Wall Street language as far as this mortgages it needs to be put in layman's terms.

Either way we do get the message about how these mortgages have made many of these players wealthy and how far down it went until some of the players on Wall Street began to suffer for their mistakes. Bad terms for these loans and not only the people who took up these loans suffer, also those who either invested in this market or who sold these loans.

As we saw in the movie and in real life about 2008-09 two investment houses eventually closed up shop because of this collapse. Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns essentially no longer exist.

Now I only wish I had the ability of Dr. Michael Burry who owned his own fund and although not trained or educated in finance knew enough to dig and found a reason to bet against the subprime mortgages. People thought he was nuts but in time figured out he was right and got their rewards to.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy holidays

[VIDEO] I can't believe the holidays are upon us already so here is Jingle Bells with barking dogs. 2015 has proven to be interesting in a variety of ways in my personal life and in the news. I couldn't cover everything, but next year we have a presidential election to go through. Hopefully I can put some time into exploring that next year.

Who will succeed America's first Black American President? We shall see none of the candidates on either side seem very promising so far.

Either way Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Star Trek Beyond trailer

[VIDEO] Right now because it's coming out soon moviegoers are excited about the new Star Wars by JJ Abrams. Next summer is Star Trek Beyond and just in time for the 50th Anniversary of the classic Star Trek series. Not enough given away of Beyond in the trailer but then that's a good thing.

I've often heard that today's previews are giving too much away of the movie their seeking to sell. Either way can't wait to see more in the future.

The fact that the film makers and producers of the current crop of Trek films are making the franchise seem cool by injecting elements of today's pop culture into it is a nice touch. Have little idea how other Trekkies may view this, however.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Does America need a "council of elders"?

Without first reading the article I immediately thought of "the New Founding Fathers of America". The regime portrayed in the futuristic film The Purge. Could a council of elders result in such an odd concept of allowing a day to engage in any type of crime?

Yes I realize that was somewhat of an extreme though, but what use is such a council that our other branches and levels of government aren't able to do?

In actuality this article is about the Syrian refugee crisis where many state Governors have declared in light of the Paris terrorist attacks they're unwilling to allow them in their states. They want better vetting of these refugees fleeing the war and unrest in their home nation.

Hat-tip Instapundit.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Terrorism in France

France on Friday was the subject of very coordinated and violent terrorist attacks from this terrorist group known as ISIS. There were some coordinated attacks in France's capitol city of Paris which resulted in casualties and many deaths. I'm talking about it because at the end of his program last night Stephen Colbert talked about this attack and before his program James Corden gave his thoughts as well.

I consider the fact that America had been attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11th a day we continue to mark although it has been over 15 years at this point. This attack is considered the greatest one-time slaughter of people in our history.

I see similarities between what happened to us on 9/11 and what happened in France on 11/13. Yeah the circumstances might be slightly different in addition to the reasons and methods however I see one similarity. It's not something we can easily get away from.

I've learned from taking courses in international studies that there is no solidly defined term for terrorism as far as such organizations as the UN are concerned. Many of us may have our definition of terrorism but are they the most accepted definitions.

My definition is an action that results in death for a political aim. In 9/11 there was a political aim by Al-Qaeda and the late Osama Bin Laden just as it seems ISIS terrorists justified their coordinated attacks on France by her involvement in Syria.

My only observation on terrorist involves the idea of an individual. Terrorists of any stripe believe it's OK to harm people to achieve some sort of objective. Perhaps the objective here was to force France to withdraw from Syrian affairs.

Either way James Corden noted the human effect of these attacks on the Late Late Show. How someone could go somewhere and you'll never see them again because they died from something such as this. If you get nothing else out of this, realize that on Friday someone lost a father/mother/brother/sister/friend in Paris and all because of something that essentially had little to do with them.